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#62945 - 07/02/02 04:41 PM sorting out his stuff from mine... SA and ACA - continued from last thread
soccer Offline
Member

Registered: 06/12/02
Posts: 43
Thought I'd start a new thread so as to avoid those long lists that go on and on...

This is a really good question - and a really good time for me to answer. This weekend my BF and I had another DOOZY of a fight.. \:\(

We tend to clash most often when we are both feeling needy and insecure (usually when there is an issue with our families, work, our relationship or a bout of insecurity in one or the other or both of us or when he is moving into a new stage of awareness and recovery (i.e. recently he has launched a formal complaint against his SA perp.).

I do admit I get needy but I have been dealing with my abuse and issues for a long time and often have the ability to express that (thought not always skillfully) which is hard for him to take. I sometimes take on the "poor little me" role a bit too often which is also not good.

He on the other hand has a hard time accessing his fears and needs and I have noticed that he has a hard time stating them without seriously blowing up first. He has recently identified that he finds it almost impossible to determine when someone really needs help and when someone wants to screw him over (I think that would be something that would be affected as a result of SA) which is often what sends him off when I ask him for support with something. Often seeing my neediness or fear or frustrations scares him as he is just so unable to help sometimes. He just is so overwhelmed with emotion its like he short-circuits.

So, while both of us are on the path of developing deeper understandings of what triggers our own issues... its pretty awful sometimes. He cant always get to those insights without a serious huge fight where insults are slung and lots of anger is heaped in both directions. Even though he does have the ability to acknowledge his part in all of this, it is still really tough sometimes. It takes a long time before he can open up and be even just a little bit vulnerable.

We are both very glad though that we were friends well before we started to date (and we were even friends in childhood well before his SA and during the beginning of my dad's alcoholism/mental illness) and we really know each others' true character and we do TRUST each other more than anyone else we've ever dated. At one time we were each others best childhood friends. That is an anchor that we really lean on in trying times. We are really part of each others' inner children.

Our friendship, readings on ACA and SA characteristics, and the opportunity to step back from the relationship from time to time (I travel a lot for work which gives us physical space) helps us define whose crap is whose.

I dont know if i really answered your question - if not let me know and I'll write some more. HOpefully this helped!

Soc

****

Dear Soccer,

I too am an adult of an alcoholic and my H was SA. Certainly a difficult combination at times. I mostly struggle with trying to figure out what is my junk and what is his. While we do go to marriage counseling, these issues are not discussed in terms of what is whose trash to deal with for the most part. At least, I try to own my stuff and look at it and try to "do it differently" while recognizing where it comes from. I wish he would (could) do the same, but he refuses to acknowledge that his abuse has any impact on our marriage and his life. It's such a shame, because I can see how almost paralyzed he is most of the time.

How do you find the combination works (or doesn't work)? What do you struggle with the most (or most often)? And have you been able to easily identify your stuff from his?

Thanks much!


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#62946 - 07/03/02 09:30 AM Re: sorting out his stuff from mine... SA and ACA - continued from last thread
AMiNUTS Offline
Member

Registered: 06/13/02
Posts: 37
Thanks for the reply! It seems that both of you acknowledge dysfunctions related to each of your issues. I acknowledge mine, but he REFUSES to even consider his which creates great conflict. While I have recently begun to point things out that may be pertinent (and feel bad because it feels like I am picking at scabs) because I want him to go into therapy. He can't stand it when I do it because he says that I think everything is attributed to SA. (which is quite an exaggeration - his terms are always and never, black and white-no in between).

I don't know how I can get him to work on himself. I want him to want to, but that is unlikely at this point. I have emotionally pulled out from the marriage - meaning that I am not unpleasant, but that displays of love inherent ina marriage are absent. I have found in the past if I pull back, he becomes extremely uneasy and I think it is important for him to look at his uneasiness. This does not mean that I am trying to be cruel, because I pull back for me because I can't pretend to be madly wild about him and I am behaving according to how I feel about the relationship. (his response is only secondary). Anyway, we are currently in marital limbo. What is interesting, is that when we are in thisplace, he becomes more of an active partner (or gets stoned alot) its a toss up. Right now its a little of both.

You said that you and your BF have always had trust. I find that is what is missing in our relationship. He doesn't trust from his issues and me from mine. While I think I use to trust him, when secretive pornography came into the picture, it took away the trust that doesn't seem like it can be repaired. He never really trusted at all.

You also said that you tend to clash when you are each most needy. That is a good point and I think it may be true for us as well (Thanks for the insight). I tend to need space to do my own thing and he tends to need closeness. They obviously conflict when we are both needy.

We too have been together since children (I was 15 he was 17). I always thought then that we were best friends. I still think we could be friends, just not husband and wife. But with children (8 and 13), the choice is very difficult.

Again, I think it is so awesome that you both know what each of you has to deal with and are trying to work through it. I think that if you decide to get married and have children (or not) that you will have a strong foundation.

Thanks again!


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#62947 - 07/22/02 10:16 AM Re: sorting out his stuff from mine... SA and ACA - continued from last thread
soccer Offline
Member

Registered: 06/12/02
Posts: 43
Thanks for your note. I really feel for you - your situation sounds much like my parents. My dad needs all kinds of closeness and my mom is very happy being very independent. And my dad is the one who has had so many problems - is himself an abuse survivor (I am not sure the total extent of it but there was for sure physical and psychological). I can totally understand wanting to pull away. For a long time (and sometimes even now depending on his behaviour) I really dont even like my BF, and for many many years I really didnt like my dad - sometimes now I still don't.

Maybe for you pulling back is a good thing - forces your H to look at his uneasiness. I remember my mom always giving into my dad, as I did when I was a kid. He got really ornery when we did so becasue it was forcing him to look at and work through his feelings and actions.


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#62948 - 07/23/02 10:08 AM Re: sorting out his stuff from mine... SA and ACA - continued from last thread
AMiNUTS Offline
Member

Registered: 06/13/02
Posts: 37
Hey soccer,

I've been away from my computer for awhile (on vacation).

You made a couple of good points that is very familiar....my mom also gave into my dad, no matter how wrong he was. He would ignore her for a week and she would kneel by his chair an apologize (YUCK). I am VERY stubborn as far as that goes. It is very important for me to have my H "own his part" of an issue or whatever. Unfortunately I think the SA gets in his way of doing that. My analogy is that he thinks he can be a rock hitting the water that makes no waves. He behaves in such a way that he seems to think if he doesn't "admit" or "own" it, it didn't happen. Does this sound familiar to you at all?

Also you mentioned that you don't really like your BF and you didn't like you dad. WOW I felt that one. I think I feel the same way. This feeling makes it extremely difficult to have a relationship. Its not that I don't love him, but the liking part is hard. I am trying to sort out if its because of my childhood, his SA or both that can't work well together. It seems his tendencies set me off and the stuff that sets me off is related to childhood stuff - especially the male-female roles I watched. Submissive women, dominating men, disrespect, etc. I don't want to be any part of anything that resembles that time.

On a brighter note, we made some progress over vacation. Some real good dialog and his opening up emotionally. It seems that spending time together without distractions has been helpful. Unfortunately, the hectic pace now continues. I think he wants to open up, but finds it SOOO hard. At the same time, something I've recognized about myself is that I don't talk as much as I thought about whats going on inside me. I instead, think about it alone and get mad that he doesn't know. (If he were a woman, he would surely know intuitively - but as someone posted in this area, men and women are just different). This is why we need our girl friends.

Be well!


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#62949 - 07/23/02 01:10 PM Re: sorting out his stuff from mine... SA and ACA - continued from last thread
soccer Offline
Member

Registered: 06/12/02
Posts: 43
About your last post.. really needed to read that today. Last night was another doozy..

*********

>>"Unfortunately I think the SA gets in his way of doing that. My analogy is that he thinks he can be a rock hitting the water that makes no waves."

OOoh does that ever hit home. After several months of discussing how happy my BF has been and how he wants to live together and how he's very happy and seriously considering marriage, recently he's been really ultra volatile and then when I'm hoping he'll be able to explain it and make me feel more hope about things, he drops a bomb on me last night (the reason for the DOOZY night) and says that he is dealing with too much and "can't really even get around to thinking about how he feels about marriage". So what does that mean? When he gets through this (or IF he does) will he suddenly wake up and realize that I"m NOT the one? I tried to ask him to clarify but with every question he just got more and more angry. He just speaks so cryptically and then gets mad when I dont understand. there are so many holes in the explanations I get that I could drive TRUCKS through them. I come up with my own conclusions that are usually WRONG and that gets me into trouble, but the only one who can clarify is him, and he gets so pissed at me!!

So then after that BOMB my BF gets angry with my reaction. I'm naturally upset and he gets ANGRY with the fact that I"m upset (he was going "why the hell do you get so hysterical???? he just gets SO MEAN and uncompassionate its just unbelievable). Its like he doesnt have a CLUE that how I am reacting is NORMAL when someone drops a bomb like that. Like I am supposed to just take this information and just be neutral and take it as a matter of fact and not get emotional and just be ok with it as a "fact".. he forgets that I"m not some neutral bystander, that what he says and does can hurt me, and also help me so much. He then suggests that I need some help, i.e. a shrink (which I am already going to so I dont understand why he said that) I dont really need a shrink. I am a totally normal sane person but when I am under this kind of relationship stress all hell breaks loose. All I really need is for him to show me he cares and that we're really on the same team and on the same path.

>>"He behaves in such a way that he seems to think if he doesn't "admit" or "own" it, it didn't happen. Does this sound familiar to you at all?

YESS!!!!!!!!!!!! See my post above. I dont get it. I am really starting to get frustrated with the selfishness of his behaviour. Its like there's no room for anyone but himself. I call him to see if he's feeling better after one of his blowups and he goes "yes I'm feeling much better" and I can hear it in his voice that he's happier, but I'm sitting here with all the crap he just dished off to feel better and I feel horrible. Just once I wish he could ask me how I am doing after a bad fight/disagreement/whatever. Just ONCE I wish he could ask me how I am doing after a fight and acknowledge that perhaps he actually said some things that hurt me and that I'm still suffering "aftershocks". I hurt for a long time after some of the things he says and does, and he just prefers to shrug it off and pretend it didnt happen.

Its just so hard - he was in therapy ages ago (1995) and he told me he did so well and he's such a different person and he learned so much, etc. However, how does that explain all the crap thats going on now? Can this all be traced to his case against his perp? He's gone back into therapy and its like this is opening up all over again. Maybe its the fact that he's in a serious relationship again (he's not been in a serious one since 1992) I thought that he was through all this from his therapy and spiritual growth that he's been working on for about 8 years now. Why is all this crap being dragged up NOW??? Its so hard not to take this personally. I'm getting yelled at, snapped at, he acts so standoffish, and then he tells me not to worry that its not ME. But he just doesnt want to see or acknowledge that this is just hurting me so much and hurting the relationship!

>>"Also you mentioned that you don't really like your BF and you didn't like you dad. WOW I felt that one. I think I feel the same way. This feeling makes it extremely difficult to have a relationship. Its not that I don't love him, but the liking part is hard. I am trying to sort out if its because of my childhood, his SA or both that can't work well together. It seems his tendencies set me off and the stuff that sets me off is related to childhood stuff..."

You and me both. But here I am back into the same damn boat. I have already seen this movie. My major issue is fear of abandonment. Makes it hard to stick to my guns when either one of us needs space. I start to cave in and panic, and turn into psycho-girlfriend.

I am just getting tired of the disrespect. I'm kind of seeing some misogynistic tendencies and that is scaring me. I dont understand that as it was a man who abused him, not a woman. I am wondering if he is secretly angry at his mother for neglecting him which pushed him into befriending this "responsible adult authority figure" that abused him.

This relationship is starting to get almost unbearable. These past few weeks have been just WRETCHED.

>>"On a brighter note, we made some progress over vacation. Some real good dialog and his opening up emotionally. It seems that spending time together without distractions has been helpful. Unfortunately, the hectic pace now continues. I think he wants to open up, but finds it SOOO hard.

Sometimes I find that there's only enough energy in one person to deal with life and work stress, and hold oneself together when one is dealing with abuse. Lay on relationship stress and we either shut down or start to come apart at the seams. My BF uses the former. I use the latter.

>>"At the same time, something I've recognized about myself is that I don't talk as much as I thought about whats going on inside me. I instead, think about it alone and get mad that he doesn't know. (If he were a woman, he would surely know intuitively - but as someone posted in this area, men and women are just different). This is why we need our girl friends."

Most definitely. It just galls me that he just cant see that after we fight that I am also hurting too, and would appreciate a "check up" after the fact. Why cant he call me to ask how I feel? And I cant even get past my own damn ego to ask him to call.

And also that he gets mad when I get upset about things that would naturally cause ANYONE to get upset - like his backtracking on his opinion of marriage. Guys are so funny in that they dont understand crying - its like they think we can turn it on or off and that we are somehow USING it to control them.. to me it aint rocket science. I am sad, I cry. I am happy, I smile. I'm tired, I yawn. Chicks know this.

Blah.. sorry about the long post. Didnt get much sleep last night. Maybe tomorrow I'll read this and see how much venom I've spewed and realize maybe I shouldnt have been so harsh. Sorry if I offended anyone by my harshness. I'm just really really confused and at my wits end today. Hoping I can make it through the day.

soc


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#62950 - 07/23/02 06:40 PM Re: sorting out his stuff from mine... SA and ACA - continued from last thread
Lloydy Offline
Administrator Emeritus
MaleSurvivor
Registered: 04/17/02
Posts: 7071
Loc: England Shropshire
Soccer
I recognise that man, he's been sat in my chair for days trying to sort out a simple thing like arranging a nice hotel to stay at for our 28th wedding anniversary and my birthday.
Sorry, it's not him - it's me !

I don't know why but I find it so hard to concentrate on and make any kind of decision about this sort of thing. My best guess is that I still feel so inadequate that I'm afraid of making the decision incase it's nor exactly what my wife want's. I KNOW she would be thrilled to bits if I arranged it all as a surprise, even if it wasn't PERFECT. Just the thought would give her so much pleasure.
So why can't I pick up the phone, click off this site and arrange a hotel on line ? I know I could, I know I can, I know I have in the past.
But I know I can't do it today, or yesterday.
Maybe tommorow ?

our feelings of inadequacy run deep, mine still do and I've done most of the work now, but sometimes it's all we can do just to act normal, put up a front. I haven't been sat in a corner crying and in a deep funk, I've been shopping and all kinds of stuff, but the "effort" if that's the right word, of just arranging a hotel is just such hard work, it's confused me, and I felt frightened about what might happen ( like what ? )

Oh well, like Broken said, "Today dental hygeine, tommorrow the world !"

Lloydy

_________________________
Go confidently in the direction of your dreams! Live the life you've imagined. As you simplify your life, the laws of the universe will be simpler.
Henry David Thoreau

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#62951 - 07/24/02 09:53 AM Re: sorting out his stuff from mine... SA and ACA - continued from last thread
AMiNUTS Offline
Member

Registered: 06/13/02
Posts: 37
Hi Soccer,

I am sorry that you had one of those days. While he may seem to get over it, we carry it around for days, months or even years sometimes. I have discovered that my problem after a "doozy" is that there never seems to be resolution. We never come to closure, so it all hangs in the air and them comes back, again and again. We have had fights over the same issue for years and it gets pretty tiring to say and hear the same things over and over.

I think one of the guys here pointed out that you need to hold on because your in for a bumpy ride since your BF is going after the perp. It is going to bring up feelings that were pushed back and those in close proximity are going to feel the repercussions. Unfortunately that's you. While knowing and understanding these consequences, it doesn't make it easy to live through it all. I know for me, I tend to be hypersensitive, which I relate to the alcoholic environment from childhood. I remember my brother saying that he is hypersensitive as well. This makes it extremely difficult to separate oneself from the situation that has nothing to do with you. My therapist also says to let hgis stuff be his stuff and let him pout and do his thing when he is dealing with something. The hard part is that since he doesn't communicate what the problem is, I think it has something to do with me and then go through my internal turmoil. The combination of his stuff and my stuff seems to feed off eachother and fuel the fire of crap.

"I am just getting tired of the disrespect. I'm kind of seeing some misogynistic tendencies and that is scaring me. I dont understand that as it was a man who abused him, not a woman. I am wondering if he is secretly angry at his mother for neglecting him which pushed him into befriending this "responsible adult authority figure" that abused him."

Oh my god, this that statement hit home. I too feel that alot of it is disrespect. And since my father was so disrespectful to my mother (usually drunk) I will NOT stand for anything that event hints disrespect. I too think that my H is VERY angry at his mother for not protecting him. He once (and only once) said "how could she not know." But at the same time, he denied that anything was going on. I though in the past (before I knew of his SA) that he treated me like I WAS his mother and he the child. If I asked him to help me with anything, it would NEVER get done. He would be very evasive about plans he made with friends and only tell me at the last minute even thought the plans were kicking around for a week. Kind of like only on a need to know basis. As far as a man abusing him, I don't think his behaviors are gender directed. I think anyone trying to place authority over him, sets him off. He can pretend that he is going to do something, but when it comes down to it, he will not do anything that he was "told" to do.

"Sometimes I find that there's only enough energy in one person to deal with life and work stress, and hold oneself together when one is dealing with abuse. Lay on relationship stress and we either shut down or start to come apart at the seams. My BF uses the former. I use the latter. "

Wow, isn't that the truth. We also have the same dynamic...he shuts downs and I have a melt down.

"Most definitely. It just galls me that he just cant see that after we fight that I am also hurting too, and would appreciate a "check up" after the fact. Why cant he call me to ask how I feel? And I cant even get past my own damn ego to ask him to call. "

My H is getting to this place. He asks me how I am when he knows I am stressed or whatever. Since last spring he has begun to recognize and address when I am emotionally drained. Not necessarily from relationship stress, but life stress. I work, go to school and we have 2 kids. Life is very chaotic. I have been working on my bachelor's degree for 10 years now and it's taking it toll. He has come from being resentful towards my schooling to being supportive (both for himself and for me). While he has endured alot from school and lost alot of my time, he finally recognizes that I must do this for me and cheers me on with "only 2 more semesters! You can do it!" The most important thing that you may already realize, is that you have to TELL him what you need. For example, our therapist says the I feel....I need..... route is important, which I NEVER did and still struggle with. So try this "honey, I feel hurt if you don't ask me how I am doing after a fight. I really need to you to check up on me and see if I am OK." ...or something like that. Like I said before, I would have thought he should know, since a female knows this stuff. But we are wired differently. I have learned that I need to stop believing that he thinks like I do. And like you said....my own damn ego, well that's something else we share. EGO TOOOOOOO BIG, must get smaller!

"And also that he gets mad when I get upset about things that would naturally cause ANYONE to get upset - like his backtracking on his opinion of marriage."

I understand this statement all too well. He thinks emotional responses are not as valid as intellectual responses. They do not get the same attention or respect since emotions can change from moment to moment. I think that the combination of being male and SA are related to the reduced level of emotional response to a given situation. As far as backtracking on marriage, I know my H is very non-committal in terms of setting any kind of plans in concrete. I had to ask him to marry me after living together for 5 years. We had been together for 7 years. We have only come to realize that neither of us REALLY wanted to get married. I thought it was the next step and he kind of felt roped into it. My advise to you, is not to rush into it for the wrong reasons. I know that I did it for the wrong reason. We love each other, but also know that if we were to meet today...we probably wouldn't even date each other. But we are trying to make it work NOW, since this is what we have with 2 children.

Well, this got to be long. I appreciate your responses very much. I am learning alot though this dialogue. Thanks!
-AMiNUTS


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#62952 - 07/24/02 11:14 AM Re: sorting out his stuff from mine... SA and ACA - continued from last thread
soccer Offline
Member

Registered: 06/12/02
Posts: 43
Thanks Lloydy, amInuts.. I really appreciate your posts. Feeling more rested (well I will later) as I had to take a sleeping pill last night to sleep.. but man did I sleep! Didnt even make it off the couch last night!

Lloydy: thanks for the insight about feelings of inadequacy, etc. I too understand how hard it can be to make a decision for your partner and be afraid if it is the wrong thing, and disappoint them. I was raised in a home with a very violent abusive, perfectionistic alcoholic father and even today I berate myself if I make mistakes in a relatioship, dont please someone, etc. Lately its been a bit easier, the longer I've been away from home (14 years now) and the more powerful I have been able to feel even when I do see my dad (I have told him to "stick it" several times now, knowing that I am not dependent on him anymore makes it easier). I think one of the biggest challenges when we are traumatized when we are younger is to remember that we are now adults and that we dont have to be victims anymore. Of course I find now my authority figure anxiety is triggered by other authority figures (bosses, particularly male bosses, etc.) but thats another story...

One thing that I did last night seemed to help. My BF and I came over and I just said to him "how come you get so mad at me" and he goes "I dont know, its really stupid isn't it?" its so funny its like this storm cloud washes over him and he's just not there for awhile. Once the cloud goes away he seems to be pretty normal. I then looked at him and said "you know its hard for me to say this especially when we fight and you say mean things, but I really am proud of you for waht you are doing, going after your perp., and doing all this work. I dont say that to you enough" and he smiled and gave me a genuine thank you. I could tell that it made him feel really happy that I said that.

Anyhow.. another day.. another.. er... yeah. Dental hygiene.. dental hygiene...


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#62953 - 07/24/02 07:22 PM Re: sorting out his stuff from mine... SA and ACA - continued from last thread
Lloydy Offline
Administrator Emeritus
MaleSurvivor
Registered: 04/17/02
Posts: 7071
Loc: England Shropshire
Quote:
"you know its hard for me to say this especially when we fight and you say mean things, but I really am proud of you for waht you are doing, going after your perp., and doing all this work. I dont say that to you enough" and he smiled and gave me a genuine thank you. I could tell that it made him feel really happy that I said that.
Soccer,
You're getting the hang of it... \:D

But that sounds a bit selfish I know, but I suppose we are, or certainly appear to be, very selfish. It's so easy for us to retreat into being lazy / selfish and take advantage of the help and good nature of our supporters. I think my wife has developed an extra sense - a "Lloydy feeling sorry for himself detector" but it took a while.
I suppose after 28 years of marriage ( on Saturday ! ) she can see through my crap, and I now know it, so I've given up playing the pity card ;\)
Thankfully she also see's the genuine bad days when I still have the black dog in tow, like last Monday morning, and gives me a boost.
It's probably too easy for us to play games and seek attention, and I know that I have been guilty of it, it's up to you guys to sort it out and kick arse or give us a hug.

Did anyone tell us it was going to be easy ?

Lloydy \:\)

_________________________
Go confidently in the direction of your dreams! Live the life you've imagined. As you simplify your life, the laws of the universe will be simpler.
Henry David Thoreau

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#62954 - 07/24/02 09:52 PM Re: sorting out his stuff from mine... SA and ACA - continued from last thread
ks Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 06/26/02
Posts: 5
Hi everyone
I can relate to all this. My bf has a really hard time "planning" things and he is usually just spur of the moment on everything or doesn't maybe do it at all. Sometimes it drives me crazy and I feel like he forgets about me or doesn't care. It is hard being on the other end of that cause I know how much he loves me and I know he wants to do for me...but alot of the times I end up getting anxious and worried about our "plans". (My counselor is trying to help me not do that, but to instead just back off and wait and let him do for me a little more no matter how long it takes.) I really appreciate the input from you guys too. It helps so much to know some of what goes on inside. My bf has also told me that sometimes he feels inadequate and that he has a hard time with things like this and he doesn't know why. He makes sure I know it's not personal, but it still hurts sometimes and is hard to understand. I am trying so hard just to trust and love and take better care of myself and do things with friends alot more. It takes alot of patience, but I'm finding that he has some pretty great ideas and has been planning alot more lately. And the coolest thing is that he is remembering things I said...(like I wanted to go see Minority Report and he found out the theater times and asked if I still wanted to go.) It's been pretty rewarding in alot of ways, but it takes ALOT of patience and my counselor holding my hand right now.
Talk to you soon
K


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